AUGUSTA, ME — The Maine Legislature has passed a bill to fund the implementation of the successful 2016 marijuana legalization initiative and change the agency that will regulate marijuana for adult use. The Senate on Thursday passed LD 243 unanimously “under the hammer,” without debate or a roll call vote, sending it to Gov. Paul […]
PORTLAND, ME — A voter-approved initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine officially takes effect today, making it legal for adults 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana. “Maine voters made it clear that it’s time to end the failed and costly policy of punishing adults for their choice to responsibly […]
PORTLAND, ME — A voter-approved initiative to legalize marijuana in Maine will officially take effect on Monday, making it legal for adults 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana. “The era of marijuana prohibition in Maine is finally coming to an end,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy […]
AUGUSTA, ME — Opponents of Maine’s Question 1, which was narrowly approved by voters in November, dropped their recount request on Saturday. With the recount challenge dropped, marijuana will become legal for adults 21 or older to possess early next year. The recount had been underway for two weeks, with no significant change to the vote […]
Maine’s Republican Governor Paul LePage has never been a fan of marijuana reform, and on Thursday he suggested that the state’s medical marijuana program should be eliminated now that voters have approved legalizing recreational marijuana. Speaking on the Portland’s WGAN on Thursday, LePage called for the end of the state’s medical marijuana program once recreational ma. In November, Maine […]
Opponents to marijuana legalization in Maine really don’t like marijuana and are wagering half a million dollars from the state’s coffers to push for a recount of last week’s legalization vote. On election day, voters in Maine approved Question 1, the Maine Marijuana Legalization Measure, by an unofficial tally of just 4,402 votes, a victorious margin of less […]
3:00 AM EST: Maine appears to have approved Question 1, legalizing marijuana for adults. The measure, which had slowly been losing an early lead all evening, has pulled through with 50.6% of the vote and 87.1% of precincts reporting. Earlier, voters in nearby Massachusetts approved their legalization measure as well. The only defeat of the […]
Bill to legalize hemp farming in Maine gaining support
AUGUSTA, Maine — Farmers, organic growers, agricultural researchers and community members have thrown their support behind a bill moving through the Legislature to legalize hemp cultivation in Maine for industrial uses. “Maine has an opportunity to …
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The Growing Hemp Industry Worries Some Marijuana Growers
Marijuana reformers and hemp reformers have fought side by side for many years. In a lot of cases, people support both causes. But there is a battle brewing between both sides. It appears that a lot of people didn't realize that hemp plants can ruin …
Read more on The Weed Blog (blog)
Agriculture Department seeks farmers to grow hemp
In order to grow hemp, all applicants must complete and sign the memorandum of understanding that dictates what the farmer may or may not do as part of the program. This includes how to get the seeds and the process for reporting stolen hemp plants.
Read more on The Tennessean
Universities are high on growing hemp
In Illinois, the law says state institutions with four-year agriculture degrees may cultivate hemp under the auspices of the State Department of Agriculture. Several states that have “ditch weed” growing wild are not on the list, notably Oklahoma and …
Read more on High Plains Journal
Portland voters approved a citizens referendum that legalized the recreational use of marijuana in city limits by a vote of 9,921 to 4,823, according to unofficial results released by the city clerk Tuesday night.
“Most Portlanders, like most Americans, are fed up with our nation’s failed marijuana prohibition laws,” said David Boyer, the Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, in a statement. “We applaud Portland voters for adopting a smarter marijuana policy, and we look forward to working with city officials to ensure it is implemented.” The ordinance will allow adults, who are at least 21 years old, to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and requisite paraphernalia for recreational use. While people can use marijuana on their personal property, the language bars them from using it on any public infrastructure, including sidewalks, parks and roadways; but landlords and building owners can opt to bar smoking on their property.
The ordinance will be enacted 30 days after the election results are certified by the city clerk, according to the city code, and cannot be repealed for five years unless it’s done by citizen petition.
The Citizens for a Safer Portland Coalition, which was comprised of the Portland Green Independent Committee, the Marijuana Policy Project and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, led the legalization effort and gained the support of the Libertarian Party of Maine, the Marijuana Caregivers of Maine and a group of local legislators. “This sends a clear message that Mainers are ready to have a conversation about a statewide tax and regulation structure,” said Diane Russell, D-Portland, who championed legalization legislation on the state level that ultimately went down to defeat.
“A lot of volunteers spent a lot of time to get this on the ballot,” she added. “This is what happens when grassroots people get together and change the world they live in,” Russell said.
A Gallup poll released last month showed that 58 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization with 39 percent opposed, according to the survey results, and a similar poll done in 2012 showed 48 percent supported legalization with 50 percent opposed.
Question One faced scant opposition, though one resident purchased signs that advocated for citizens to reject the legalization effort, and 21 Reasons, a nonprofit, voiced displeasure with a series of ads placed on buses and bus stops and claimed they promoted drug use, especially by young people.
Russell said she will continue pursuing legislation for a statewide regulatory framework, noting a “real mandate for change” based on Tuesday’s vote.
“It’s going to take a Legislative Council vote to do it,” she said, referring to the legislative body that sets priorities for the session in Augusta.
The Portland citizens initiative, which launched in March, came on the heels of Russell’s bill in the Maine Legislature that aimed to create a taxation and regulatory structure around the legalization of marijuana. Russell’s bill would have left it up to Maine voters to make the final decision on marijuana legalization through a state-wide referendum.
The bill lacked the support of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. “Now that marijuana is legal for adults in Maine’s largest city, there is an even greater need for comprehensive reform at the state level,” Boyer said. “By regulating marijuana like alcohol, we could take sales out of the hands of drug cartels in the underground market and put them behind the counters of licensed, tax-paying businesses. It’s time to move beyond prohibition and adopt a more sensible approach.”
Melissa Thomas is a 38-year-old interior designer for a local paint company. She has a 5-year-old son, and she is engaged to be married. She shows up to work on time, and belongs to a book club and mothers groups. She pays her bills and is closing on the purchase of a house in South Portland next month. And like an increasing number of Americans, she likes to smoke marijuana – not for its medical benefits but because she enjoys it.
“Alcohol makes me sleepy,” said Thomas, a well-dressed, well-spoken woman with long curly hair and an engaging smile. “Marijuana does the opposite – it tends to kick-start me, especially creatively.”
Thomas believes she uses marijuana responsibly, limiting her use to the occasional weeknight or weekend. She says she doesn’t drive after smoking and never uses marijuana around her son or before going to work. She firmly believes that children and teenagers, whose brains are still developing, should never use the drug.
But, she says, marijuana use by a responsible adult should be legal. And she is far from alone. After decades of shifting attitudes, more Americans now support legalizing marijuana than oppose it, according to national surveys.
On Nov. 5, Portland voters will try to make it so, at least within city limits. Voters are widely expected to pass a citizen-led referendum and enact an ordinance to legalize recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21.
However, the proposal would not allow people to use marijuana in public or operate a vehicle after smoking. Landlords could prohibit its use on their property. And there would still be no legal way for people to obtain marijuana – selling it will still be banned.
And, no matter what Portland voters say next month, marijuana use will still be illegal under federal law, which classifies pot as being in the same group as heroin.
Thomas said she decided to step forward publicly about her marijuana use – essentially admitting to illegal activity – to combat the fear and misconception about marijuana. She said her habit is known and accepted by her employer and her more conservative friends.
Even so, speaking publicly about her marijuana use carries some social risks.
“I don’t think anyone wants to be labeled for the vices they have,” Thomas said, adding that for some the vice might be gambling or drinking or sex. “That’s the most difficult thing about coming out.”
She is also stepping forward because of her son. “I don’t want my son growing up and thinking I’m a criminal,” she said.
Complete Article: http://drugsense.org/url/FscAVyOg
Source: Portland Press Herald (ME)
Author: Randy Billings, Staff Writer
Published: October 13, 2013
Copyright: 2013 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.